by Ginny Farmer
||At just 16, Cody Scott has established an impressive record of competing in team roping.
Cody Scott has been riding horses for as long as he can remember. His father, a lifelong horse lover himself, first put him on one at just 6 months old.
Now in his junior year at Chilton County High School, Scott has honed his skills in team roping so well he competed against men old enough to be his grandfather and won top honors. But he humbly states he never planned on winning much of anything at his young age, and he gives the credit to "the good Lord."
Scott got his first pony, Fred, at age 5 or 6, and the first skill he developed was calf roping, at age 9 or 10. His first mare is now 20 years old and still resides at the Scott house in Verbena, just outside of Clanton.
Scott is in good company with his 9-year-old brother, Colton, and friend Gregory "Frog" Varner, who often practice in the arena Scott’s father built when he first bought the property right out of high school as a horse trainer.
Varner and Scott met during a high-school rodeo, and though Varner attends school in Prattville, he lives nearby, so the boys spend a lot of time together.
Scott’s first competitive experience was in the junior-high rodeo, when his team finished 10th in the state. His freshman year of high school, he qualified to go to the National Finals in Gillette, Wyoming.
Scott and his dapple-gray quarter horse, Amos Moses, have been a good team, and Scott has the prizes to prove it. On June 24 and 25, more than 1,300 teams came to the team roping competition at the Booger Barter Hydrotex Rope for the Dodge Truck VII Tournament in Glen Rose, Texas, but it was 16-year-old Scott who won $1,750, a set of stirrups, a jacket and the biggest prize of all – a Dodge truck, which came in perfect time for Scott, who had just received his driver’s license in May.
Scott’s friend, Varner, was a big part of the win as his partner in two of the 15 team ropes that pushed Scott to the top. Varner himself won a saddle for having the top average score (next to Scott) in the youth division.
Varner was one partner of two times Scott was able to choose whom he wanted on his team. His other 13 partners were chosen randomly, because, Scott said, it is more expensive to choose your partner. Varner happened to be one of those random picks, though.
|Cody Scott and Gregory "Frog" Varner rope a steer in one of the runs that helped Scott win the Dodge truck.
Scott said it is easier to rope when your partner is someone you know or have teamed with before, but competing with a stranger is not too difficult because you get to discuss your strategies ahead of time.
"Different people have different ways they like to set the steer, so I don’t really like to do it with people I don’t know," Scott said.
Scott said he had the quickest roping time at the end of the day Saturday. On Sunday, only the top 100 teams are brought back to compete in the short round.
In each turn, a team must rope three head. The header ropes the steer’s head, and the heeler ropes the back legs. On average, the roping takes about 20 seconds.
"If you miss one, you’re out," Scott said. "You could go real slow to get all three but there’s a cutoff time."
Scott and Varner placed third in the average, and Scott placed seventh with another partner, which was enough for him to become the high point winner of the event.
"When I got through roping and they told me where I was sitting, and everybody said ‘you won,’ I didn’t believe them," Scott said. "When they called it out, I started bawling. I still didn’t believe it till a week later."
Scott said he got to drive the truck home from Texas. All it took was a few signatures and he was in the driver’s seat, following his dad and their horse trailer.
||Cody Scott is proud of his new truck, a Dodge Diesel Dually Trophy Truck.
All the practice and the payoffs have also given Scott a respectable TRIAD rating with the USTRC. The Booger Barter win moved him from a 3 to a 4 on the scale of 1-10.
"They said I’ll probably get bumped before the end of the year. No roper over a 5 can rope in certain competitions."
Scott’s mother, Sharon, is an RN at Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster, and his father, Jody, is a farrier.
"He can do just about anything," Scott said of his father, who drives as far as Birmingham and Montgomery to shoe horses.
For most of the summer, Scott has been helping his grandfather with farming, planting 40 acres of watermelons that get hauled to the Birmingham market every summer, as far back as Scott can remember.
"My Paw-Paw’s always farmed," Scott said. "One year I told my daddy I wanted to farm, too, so he took out a loan for youth farming. I’ve been on a tractor all my life. I love it, but everybody else thinks it’s too much work."
In addition to watermelons, the Scotts also work in the hay fields during the summer, and raise Longhorn cattle as their own roping stock. They have between 20 and 30, Scott said.
"We rope them till they get too big to rope, and then we sell them," he said.
When he’s not busy farming or practicing his team roping skills, Scott works on fixing up his old Chevy truck. He loves the old truck, but because it has no air conditioning, he’s glad to have the new one to take to school. The truck, which Scott claims is "too nice" for him, is a crew cab diesel, and is emblazoned with logos of sponsors like Nutrena and Hydrotex.
"I can’t wait to drive it to school," he said. "When you’re driving this truck, everybody stares and waves. Everybody’s your friend."
Scott is also involved in his church, Mount Pisgah United Methodist. "If it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t be doing any of this right now," Scott said.
Scott has aspirations of attending college somewhere out west, getting his degree and someday making the National Finals Rodeo – the World Championship.
Ginny Farmer is a freelance writer from Auburn.